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Hermaphrodite

Hermaphrodism In Humans

True hermaphroditic humans do not exist, but pseudohermaphrodism does, where an individual has both male and female external genital organs, sometimes at the same time. Female embryos exposed to high levels of androgens (the male hormones) develop female internal reproductive organs but male external genitalia. Alternately, genetic defects cause children to be born with female external genital organs, which change at puberty, with the development of a penis and the closure of the false vagina.


Resources

Books

Campbell, N., J. Reece, and L. Mitchell. Biology. 5th ed. Menlo Park: Benjamin Cummings, Inc. 2000.

Elia, Irene. The Female Animal. New York: Henry Holt, 1988.

Jorde, L.B., J.C. Carey, M.J. Bamshad, and R.L. White. Medical Genetics 2nd ed. New York: Year Book, Inc., 2000.

Stern, Kingsley R. Introductory Plant Biology. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown, 1991.

Periodicals

Berreby, D. "Sex and the Single Hermaphrodite." Discover 13 (1992): 88-93.


David L. Brock

KEY TERMS

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Gonad

—An organ that produces sex cells.

Protandry

—A change in sex from male to female.

Protogyny

—A change in sex from female to male.

Pseudohermaphrodite

—A person who has the physical traits of one sex, while having the genetic instructions of the other.

Sequential hermaphrodite

—An organism that has male or female reproductive organs at one time, and which develops the opposite sex organs.

Simultaneous hermaphrodite

—An organism which develops both male and female reproductive organs at the same time.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Habit memory: to HeterodontHermaphrodite - Simultaneous Hermaphrodism, Sequential Or Serial Hermaphrodites, Hermaphrodism In Humans